The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

In This Vale Of Wretchedness

Words: English Traditional, Before 1529

Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), pp. 122-3.

Pray for us that we saved be,
Protomartyr Stephane

1. In this vale of wretchedness,
Yprovėd was thy meekness,
Where thou art in joy and bliss,
    Circumfultus undique.

2. With faith all armed in field to fight,
Sad thou stoodest as God's (own) knight,
Teaching the people, of God His might,
    O facies plena gracie!

3. Before the tyrant thou were brought,
Strokes of pain thou dreadedst nought,
God was with thee in all thy thought,
    Spes eterne glorie.

4. With sinful wretches thou were take,
Thy faith thou wouldest not forsake,
But rather to die to Godes sake,
    Circumfuso sanguine.


Rickert gives the following translations:

Editor's Note: Saint Stephen's feast day is December 26. Other hymns and carols for St. Stephen: Hymns to St Stephen. Saint Stephen was among the first seven deacons and was the first martyr. See the book of Acts, Chapters 6 and 7, and this biography of St. Stephen from the Catholic Encyclopedia.

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